President Kufuor Condemns Renewed Fighting In Bawku
2008-05-13 20:00:18This article has been read 728 times.
President J.A. Kufuor, has condemned the recent renewed fighting in the Bawku Municipality, pointing out that such disturbances risk derailing the peace efforts made so far. The President’s sentiments were expressed by the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Alhassan Samari, at separate meetings with the Paramount Chief of Bawku, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, and the Regent of the Mamprusi community in Bawku, Alhaji Adam Ibrahim Zangbeogo, at Bawku yesterday.
Mr Samari said coming from the Castle meeting with the President in March, the two parties returned to Bawku with full hope and excitement that permanent peace was going to return to the area once they committed themselves to a peace process.
"The President has reiterated his concern and displeasure at the happenings in Bawku and is appealing to both sides to exercise restraint, while a permanent solution is found to the problem," Mr Samari said.
He disclosed that as part of the peace efforts, the President intended to invite the leadership of both sides for the second time, for further talks as part of efforts at solving the Bawku problem.
Mr Samari, who was in Bawku to assess the security situation on behalf of the Government, expressed his condolences to families who had lost their dear ones.
The Bawku Naba said on his return to Bawku from Accra after the meeting with the President, he advised his sub-chiefs to follow the advice of the President to the letter.
"I expected the Nayiri (the overlord of Mamprugu) to also do the same by inviting his children, the Mamprusis in Bawku, to dialogue with them on the need to keep the peace but this has not been done," he said.
He said what happened in Bawku recently came as a big surprise to him and added that he welcomed the second opportunity to meet with the President to discuss the way forward for Bawku.
He also called on the security agencies, especially the police, to be fair in dealing with persons arrested in connection with the violence, emphasising that improper handling of the cases stood the possibility of complicating the situation in the area.
The spokesman for the Mamprusis, Alhaji Akalifa Bugri, for his part, said after the meeting with the President it was on record that no Mamprusi in Bawku had done anything to derail the peace.
He said the elders of the Mamprusi community had impressed on their youth that whoever breached the peace would be made to face the full rigours of the law and these they had obeyed.
"Our opponents have surrounded us and they are causing a whole lot of mayhem," he said.
Another elder, Alhaji Ibrahim Kolbila, said since December 31, 2007 no Mamprusi had ever made any attempt to disturb the peace of the area, because they had been cautioned by the REGSEC, as well as the Municipal Security Committee.
He said to date seven deaths had been recorded on their side and any time this occurred, they were told that these were works of armed robbers. "Meanwhile we are aware of who the perpetrators are and we have reported them to the security agencies," he said.
He said for over a month now, it had been difficult accessing potable water and just recently, people from Pusiga, who were coming to town to supply sachet water, were beaten up and forced to flee.
Mr Mohammed Tahiru Nambe, another opinion leader, expressed disapproval at a statement by the Bawku Naba that all Mamprusis should leave Bawku, stressing that that would be the last thing any Mamprusi would do.
He also condemned the killing of Karim Oga Musah, stressing that his death was a big blow to the peace efforts of the area. "Karim Oga has worked with the leadership of the Mamprusi community to ensure that there is peace in Bawku and his death is indeed a big loss not only to the Kusasis but also us on the Mamprusi side," he said.
The Assembly Member for South Natinga, Mr Bashiru Salifu, called on the security agencies to be firm and deal ruthlessly with people who would flout the law in the town.
Responding, the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Mr Ofosu Mensah Gyeabour, pledged the neutrality of the security personnel in the events in Bawku.
He entreated the people to foster close partnership and report the activities of deviants to the police in order to curb the violence in the area.